December 13, 2013

Protein Packed Quinoa Breakfast Bars

Happy Friday! After the first time I cooked with, or actually even tried quinoa in the quinoa burgers I made awhile back, I was in love. I wanted to find more ways to include the little super grain in my diet, and thus, the protein packed quinoa breakfast bars were born. These bars are on my list of recipes to make again. And again. Annnd again. They are so good! They're flavorful, with a bit of crunch from the nuts and toasted quinoa. These bars are packed with healthy vitamins, minerals and protein. I may or may not have danced around the kitchen to "All the Single Ladies" after taking the first bite...

Being a vegetarian, there are a lot of important things to remember to include in your diet to keep your body healthy and happy. You may already know this, but one of the most important would be protein. Since meat is usually the main source of protein in a lot of diets, and well... vegetarians don't eat meat, it's vital to substitute meat protein for plant protein. Protein helps your body repair cells and make new cells. It is the building blocks for enzymes, hormones and vitamins. Protein is important for your bones, skin, blood, cartilage and muscles. Protein is necessary for our bodies to function properly. Foods such as nuts, beans, eggs, dairy, and fish (if you eat fish) are all good sources of protein in a vegetarian diet.

Peanut butter is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and potassium.
Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. It contains a good amount of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and helps prevent heart disease. Quinoa also contains manganese, iron, vitamin B2, and lysine. It's a pretty super little grain that's incredibly versatile.
Oats are good for fiber, manganese, and may help lower the level of cholesterol.
Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, Omega-3s, and vitamin E.
Honey (raw) is full of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and powerful antioxidants.
Dark chocolate contains potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron. In small amounts, it can be good for your brain, heart, and it contains a good amount of antioxidants. Plus, it's delicious and helps improve your mood!

 Save to ZipList Print RecipeProtein Packed Quinoa Breakfast Bars
Author: Herbivore Haven, Adapted from Super Healthy Kids
Makes: 14 bars
  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup combination of nuts and dried fruit*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark chocolate (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats and uncooked quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in the preheated oven for 8 minutes.
  2. Place the toasted quinoa/oats mixture in a large bowl and add nuts and dried fruit. *I used sunflower seeds and roughly chopped walnuts.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Pour over the oats mixture and combine until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
  4. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the mixture evenly into the baking dish, pressing it down into the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool for up to 2 hours.
  5. After the mixture has cooled, pour 1 cup of dark chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Cut the baked mixture into bars. Dip each bar in the melted dark chocolate and set on parchment paper to harden. Enjoy!